Cybernetic and Systems Engineering, Hindsight, Foresight, Insight


Hosted by our President, Dr. John Beckford FCybS, the CybSights President's Series is a new programme that will bring interesting people together to explore the relevance and contribution of cybernetics to addressing important challenges.

Each event will consist of contributions by two different speakers. Each will be followed by individual Q&A. These are then brought together by the President in a lively and engaging plenary discussion. Each will seek areas of convergence and divergence between the ideas explored. Speakers present their own views — not official view of the Society.

Events will be held via Zoom on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 1700 to 1900.

Meetings are open to members of the Cybernetics Society and also the general public. Non-members are invited to join or give a donation. Booking is required.

The Cybernetics Society has been hosting conversations and lectures since the late 1960s.

#PS7 : April 14th 10 2021:

This event continues the exploration of the relevance of cybernetics to the contemporary world with contributions both theoretically practical and practically theoretical. The purpose of this series is not just to provide answers but to test whether the right questions are being asked.

FIRST SPEAKER: Kerry Lunney, President INCOSE

Exploring the Future Marriage between Cybernetics and Systems Engineering


Working under a changing global environment in the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution, the velocity in technology changes and disruptors is ever increasing. Likewise, the introduction of new technologies such as AI and autonomy and the increasing prevalence of inter-connectedness can make cybernetic solutions complex systems. Thus it is key that the practice of Systems Engineering continues to evolve and support the demands of increasing system complexity. In this presentation, I will present possible pathways for collaboration and support in applying a systems approach to Cybernetics.

Kerry Lunney

Kerry Lunney is Country Engineering Director and Chief Engineer in Thales Australia. She is also the President of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), and holds the Expert Systems Engineering Professional (ESEP) qualification.

Kerry has extensive experience developing and delivering large system solutions. She has worked in various industries including ICT, Gaming, Financial, Transport, Aerospace and Defence, in Australia, Asia and USA. The systems delivered include combat systems, mission systems, communication systems, road and rail ITSs, flight simulators, security systems, vehicle electronic systems, gaming systems and ICT foundation systems.

She is also a Fellow Member of Engineers Australia with the status of Engineering Executive and Chartered Professional Engineer and is a member of IEEE.

Followed by brief Q & A

SECOND SPEAKER: Prof. Brian Collins CB, FREng, Hon F.CybS

Insight, Foresight and Hindsight: A Provocation on Resilience


It is said that generals fight each new war with the knowledge and technology developed for its predecessor. In this session Brian Collins will think about the need for the development of resilient societies and systems and explore ways of balancing the tension between the use of hindsight and foresight in order to generate useful insights that might achieve progress.

Prof Brian Collins

Prof. Brian Collins, CB, FREng is an Honorary Fellow of the Cybernetics Society. A physicist by background, Brian has a long and distinguished career primarily as a government scientist including being the Chief Scientist at GCHQ at the end of the Cold War, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Departments for Transport and what is now called BEIS. Upon completion of this period as CSA, Brian was appointed Professor of Engineering Policy and founded the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) at University College London. He was instrumental in establishing national and international research into the future of National and City Infrastructures through ICIF and, more recently UKCRIC, a multi-university research collaboratorium (the operating model of which was explicitly developed using cybernetic insights)

Followed by brief Q & A

Plenary Discussion

The aim of this session, moderated by John Beckford, is to draw out the complementary and competing ideas emerging from the two sessions. Speakers present their own views.

Dr. John Beckford, FCybS, President of the Cybernetics Society

John Beckford is a board member of WOSC, a partner in Beckford Consulting, Non-Executive Chair of the Board of Rise Mutual CIC, a Non-Executive Director of both Fusion21 and CoreHaus (social enterprises) and Visiting Professor in both the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at University College London and the Centre for Information Management, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University. John holds a PhD in cybernetics from the University of Hull, is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and of the Royal Society for the Arts and a Member of the Institute of Management Services.

Cybernetics Society – a learned society

The Cybernetics Society promotes and offers education and research opportunities in the rich field of cybernetics. In the CybSights series, including the President's Series, we offer isghts conversations, lectures, case studies, analysis, education, and thoughtful entertainment.,

The Cybernetics Society – – is a specially authorised learned society regulated by the FSA and established by a 1974 Act of Parliament. To join visit our membership system or pick the Join ticket.

Cybernetics plays into and strongly influences many scientific and practice fields including design, epistemology, ecology, biology, psychology and living behaviour, technology and engineering, social policy, and business practice. Many feature in the wonderfully aware and successful designers and thinkers of this series.

Cybernetics offers a distinct "go" — techniques — to address local and global challenges of the 21st century.